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Tandem strings together NT servers

Tandem announces a high-performance Windows NT server featuring clustering technology.

Tandem Computers today announced a high-performance Windows NT server featuring clustering technology.

The CS150 is the first system in a line of high-availability clustered servers designed for use with the Microsoft operating system. Recently acquired by Compaq, Tandem now serves as the high-end corporate "enterprise" computing arm of Compaq.

In a clustered server system, a number of servers are strung together to form a single virtual server. A clustered server configuration adds reliability, or so-called "availability," since the servers in the cluster can back each other up if one of them goes down. In the future, clustered servers will also be scaleable in performance--that is, if a server is added to the existing cluster, the performance of the whole cluster is increased.

The Tandem CS150 package inlcudes two dual-processor servers based on Intel's 200-MHz Pentium Pro and cased in a single cabinet.

Priced at $15,000, the CS150 is intended for low- to midrange server applications such as high-availability branch office needs and in-store processing, as well as Web serving and front- and back-end processing.

The two-node system offers a higher level of reliability than nonclustered machines because of its redundant configuration. If there is a hardware, operating system, or application problem, processes running on the failed system are automatically moved to the other node of the cluster. Each system within the clustered server has its own memory, copy of the operating system, cluster management software, applications, disk controller, and power supply.

Total storage capacity of the two-node system is 310GB. If higher reliability and availability is needed, RAID (redundant array of independent disks) disk protection or mirroring can be used to duplicate sensitive data.

The CS150 is the first NT server cluster to use Tandem's ServerNet technology for internode communications. ServerNet can connect dozens of servers into a cluster, allowing for massive scalability.

The Tandem server was designed to run the Microsoft Cluster Server (also known as MSCS, and formerly as "Wolfpack") but can also support cluster-ready server applications from Oracle and Tandem.